Donnarumma and Hazard set benchmarks for young talent in Big-5 leagues

March 10 – A ranking of current big-5 league players according to the age at which they have reached 50, 100, 200 and 300 caps in their leagues sees AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma leading the 50 and 100-match tables, while the Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard is at the top for the 200 and 300-match rankings.

The data compiled by the CIES Football Observatory, shows that there were 8 players from the Premier League in the top 20 of those with 50 appearances and seven in the 300 appearance top 20.

Donnarumma has long been a feted talent in a position where generally older players traditional have had the edge over younger players. He played his 50th game before his 18th birthday, and the 100th at 19.2 years. In both cases, he outranks another goalkeeper, the French Alban Lafont (FC Nantes).

The Basque Iker Muniain (Athletic Club) is the outfield footballer having reached the earliest the 50 and 100 caps in the big-5: at 18.2 and 19.8 years of age respectively.

“Eden Hazard holds the records of precocity for both the 200 and 300 big-5 league matches. The Belgian was only 23 years old when he played his 200th game in the five major European championships,” says the report.

“He is the only player currently in the big-5 who reached his 300th cap before 26 years of age. Five additional footballers played 300 games before their 27th birthday: James Milner, Moussa Sissoko, Iker Muniain, Miralem Pjanić and Cesc Fàbregas.”


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